In some families, please is described as the magic word. In our house, however, it was sorry. – Margaret Laurence

Have you ever found yourself wondering how different your life would be if you had been raised in a different family? Or if certain circumstances were different? I have. Quite a lot actually. I’ve never stopped to wonder why I am the way that I am, or how I became who I did…because I’ve already known. Every situation and event in my past has molded me into the extremely effed up person that I am today whether it be my molestation, the rape, the horrendous way people treated myself and my dad for his homosexuality, or even the fact that I never knew my mother because she committed suicide. Some people dwell. Some people heal. Some people find themselves in the middle of the two, and that’s where I am. While I will suffer from PTSD for the rest of my life, I have come to terms with everything that I have experienced…but that doesn’t stop me from wondering “what if?”

What if I didn’t have my memories of molestation and rape? What part of me would have changed? Would I still find myself easily afraid of people around me? Would I have the immediate response of fight or flight at even the slightest touch that takes me by surprise? Would I like people more?

What if my dad hadn’t been gay? Would I have been treated differently growing up after he came out of the closet? Would we still have dealt with harassment and death threats? Would I have been expelled from school for defending his honor against the girl who threatened to kill him?

What if my mother had lived? What if her children had been enough to live for? Would my brother and I have had a better relationship than we do now – which is non-existant and for good reason. Would she have told me that there was a possibility that my dad wasn’t actually my dad, or would I have still found out in my early 30s via a detective back in my home town of Terre Haute that she had been the alibi to her boyfriend (not my dad) – while she was married to my dad – for a crime he is still a suspect of so many years later. Better yet…if my dad was still alive would he even want to know if I was his daughter, or was I always his daughter no matter what?

Fact of the matter is it has taken me a long time to realize that if we spend all of our time living in the past or wondering about the “what if’s?” in life…then we are missing out on the present. Am I going to have flashbacks? Yes. Am I going to have night terrors? Yes. Its a daily reminder that I have PTSD and that my past will forever haunt me. However, I can no longer be consumed by them. I can’t live my life wallowing in what could have, should have, or might have been. All I can do is try and pick myself up each and every time, put my big girl panties on, have a good cry, and pretend that I’m okay even if I’m really not at times. The medication helps. Talking about it with people I trust helps. But it isn’t a cure all. I’ll always have my issues, but I don’t have to have a subscription.

My children know that there is something “wrong” with Mommy, but in my house that’s A-OK. Its okay not to be perfect, and that is something that I promised myself when I had children. My dad did the best with the cards that he was dealt, but I spent more time apologizing for being me growing up than I ever did saying “I love you”. I don’t want that for my kids. My son has Autism, ADHD, and suspected bipolar disorder with accompanied speech and language delays. My daughter has a developmental and speech delay. They know that in my eyes, while they may not be perfect, they are perfect to me. I wouldn’t change one little hair on their ever growing little heads. We have 100% acceptance in this house. I love my children unconditionally – even my oldest who is off living at his grandparents house on a journey of self-discovery that has left him not wanting or needing his mother for several months now. Do I want to smack him across the head? Sure, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love him.

In the end, I guess I’m doing the best with the cards that I’ve been dealt. I never have been, nor will I ever be, perfect…but I’m trying so hard. Every day is a struggle, but I’m fighting. I’m a survivor and sometimes that’s the proudest title (other than “Mom”) that I could wear.

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